Is the Chinese culture today closer to American culture or Ancient Chinese culture?



Bowen Fu

Things in many remote villages will differ from them in metropolises such as Shanghai.

 Traditional values still survive in those villages.





Leung Kwan Pang, 23 years in Nanjing, 12 years in HK

American culture of course. Let me explain:


You get up from a western style bed, in a western style room, in a concrete building. You brush your teeth with tooth brush, look into the glass mirror, wash your face in a basin with running water.


You grab food from the fridge, looking into TV when eating your breakfast. Before you go out, you put on suit or jeans. You drive or take bus or subway to work. WORKING! Either in a factory or in an office, using machines or computers...


All the things I described above are million miles from the ancient life.

You may say it's not American, it's modern! Yup, that's exactly my point. We living in a modern world. The ways of modern life in different part of the world are more similar when comparing with their ancestors.



To answer Joe's comment: "Culture is more about behaviours, beliefs and values." I agree. But when we exam these aspects, we would find the modern Chinese may share more with Americans than with their ancestors. If a time traveling alien visits earth every 500 years, he need to try much harder to differentiate the behavioral nuance between Chinese and Americans, but easily separates them from the ancient Chinese.


For beliefs and values, the conclusions are the same. I wouldn't argue this base on the studies and things only exist on paper, since the sociologists and anthropologists are trying hard to distinguish cultures rather than doing the opposite. Let's have a look at the outcome of ideas, beliefs and values:


Both of the two modern culture emphasis on commercial activities, in contrast to the agricultural focused ancient china. Both have a modern government, with different interpretations of "democracy", but a long way from the ancient absolute monarchy. I know you would argue the truthfulness of China's ruling style, but to our alien friend, that won't be important enough to prevent them putting the two modern nations into the same category.


To apply this onto other areas of culture, such as music, art, literature, architecture, and political, social, economical structures, the similarities are way more obvious for me to describe in details.


Culture, as the term to aggregate the aspects in the way of life, naturally unites modern Chinese and Americans together.



Cedric Chiu, Radar Engineer working on Weapons

Definitely not Ancient Chinese Culture.



The number 1 big rule of Chinese Culture is strict family order, the Son/Daughter will obey the father’s every word, the wife is obedient to the husband, and expected to live with the husband’s parents and be like a daughter to them. And the parent will decide the child’s marriage.

So, the nuclear family structure of today (with a quiet frequent divorce rate), is similar to the USA, and NOT Ancient Chinese.





The Ancient Chinese are farmers, their whole family/extended family all work and plan around the crops. There are no holidays, but work.

Today most of the Chinese work environment closely follows what the West had setup after the industrial revolution, in a business or industrial setting. They face what a regular USA people will face (traffic to work, be a boss or be ordered by a boss and a work schedule)




3.Dress and Style.

Ancient Chinese believes that cutting hair is a sin, because hair is part of the body, and they don’t cut a part of body (but they also argue that in order to work, one need to cut the finger nails, interesting contradictions). Ancient Chinese also have a really stick rules of clothing (like it need to open in a certain way, and some color are banned). Chines personal Hair Style and Clothes are perhaps the most different than the Ancient Chinese (and most western man basically kept the same hair style of Ancient Rome.. Short Crew Cut)



4.Law, Government and Society

Closely follow the west (Russia).. have a system of Parliament and Courts. Nothing like Ancient China.




Movies, TV, Sport Games…. all Western inventions.

So… what is “culture”? is Family+Work+Dress+Society+Entertianment Not a representation of a culture? I will say these are the major building blocks of a culture.




And if these building block are similar to the West, and very different than Ancient China, than I don’t see how “Culturally” Chinese are more similar to ancient China, rather than closer to the west..


 译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49433.html  译者:Joyceliu


Stephen Thompson, Lived in China for 10 years, speak and write Chinese

I would say closer to the American culture on the whole.


Of course, it depends on what you mean by Ancient Chinese culture. There were many ancient Chinese cultures. What period are you referring to? Culture in the Tang dynasty was different to the Song, women did not bind their feet and they used to ride horses in the Tang dynasty. But I guess you mean earlier that that. Warring states? Zhou? Xia? The further back you go, the less we know about what the culture was like, but we can be sure that as you go back in time the culture gets more distant and distinct from modern China. Despite important differences, in both countries people live similar lives, eating the same food, doing the same jobs, and having the same rights, at least on paper.


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